Jerry’s Journal of 2006-2007
There are some interesting Eichler numbers to review for
the 2007 year. I’ll be discussing those next week – see you then!
12-24-07. A Very Merry Christmas to all of you on this Christmas Eve, and Best Wishes to all for a pleasant, productive,
and prosperous 2008. Time for a break with my family, so Ho Ho Ho , I’ll be back in touch January 3rd, 2008!
12-17-07. Christmas holiday decorating and shopping have evidently begun in earnest. Another typically slow
week in our real estate market. Last Sunday’s Mercury News headline, “The Housing Slump – Where it its home” carried an
article about the number of foreclosures unfortunately occuring in the valley. Fortunately, however, those numbers were
in areas / zip codes away from the areas including Eichlers. “Our part” of silicon valley seems essentially untouched by those
12-10-07. Well the activity bested last week at least. 3 new listings, and 3 sales occured during this chilly
weather week. It appears that we have more than our share of informed buyers. This slower time of year can be the best time
of our real estate year to make that purchase. “Sounds like a real estate broker” I know, but just let me know your thoughts
about next March!
12-3-07. As predicted, a relatively uneventful week last week. 3 new listings, no sales, and cold or cooler
weather was the order of the day.
11-26-07. We’ve entered the seasonal doldrums of the real estate market in silicon valley, and that coupled with
the lousy national real estate news in the media will likely make this a rather boring time around here. Several Eichler
buyers (4) did find their homes last week, with purchases made during this season. Usually, in times like these, home buyers
often wait for prices to fall further than they have before they bite the bullet. That works some time, but around here it
often doesn’t. It will be very interesting to see what happens in our marketplace come next February, usually the beginning
of our busy spring market.
11-19-07. More activity occured within the past several days than has occured for several weeks. Can’t keep
the silicon valley market down! As mentioned above, it will be interesting to see how the market winds up 2007, and how
2008 begins – in about February. (Remember, that’s the time the spring market begins around here.) All the talk about the
national housing problems can’t help but hurt activity around here, even though we’re fortunate to have escaped the bulk of
the subprime, et al problems.
Last weekend’s Mercury News carried an article about the Eichler in the real estate
section of the paper. Always nice to see folks paying attention to the uniqueness of the Eichler, even though much of the
article was a re-hash or repeat of many previous article. Like a lot of things in this world, there’s not much new in the
11-12-07. The slow season continues, albeit a bit better than last week, with 3 new listings posted, but
no new sales were reported. Gonna’ be a slow fall and winter!
11-5-07. The lack of activity continued last week – in spades – with 1 new listing, 1 sale, and 1 listing
withdrawal from the market. It’s going to be a very slow fall and winter season evidently. If you read above, it’s
obvious that the early September (again September) high 6 month activity of 119 transactions, will be the high for this
year, and as mentioned earlier, about 8% decline of activity versus 2006. Any guesses about 2008?
10-29-07. We have approximately another month to go before the Thanksgiving holidays – another month of what
usually is a pretty active real estate season – before the winter “doldrums” set in, but given the relative inactivity of
the past couple of months, I doubt if we’re going to seem much change in activity. Sales units are indeed fewer, as are
listings, but prices seem to be holding up well in Eichlerdom. Homebuyers are still looking, and as usual, waiting to see
if prices will soften. Around here that often does not work. We’ll see if it does this time.
10-22-07. Those of you that take the San Francisco Chronicle likely saw the article headlining the Business
Section of last Fridays edition, entitled “Home sales in Bay Area crash to 20-year low.” (Why is is that newspapers writers/editors love those
words such as “crash or soar or collapse, or whatever!?) There’s nothing like headlines like that to get your attention,
even though reading further brings things back to perspective. That headline describes the percentage change in the 9
county bay area home sales statistics – lumped together and averaged – for the month of September 2007 versus 2006. If one
wishes to narrow the view, usually a view of
where you live, you find that the percent change in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties is less than the average – 38% versus
45%, and that home prices actually increased about 5% for that period. There is no question that the number of home sales
is down from previous years, even though many home buyers have indeed found that the prices have increased from an earlier
The Eichler market place has acted in a similar fashion, i.e., fewer sales than previous periods, but
higher prices for those that have sold. Just take a peek at the Eichler Market Data page of this site, or a couple of
paragraphs above, and you’ll see that is indeed the case. As of this writing, using the year 2005 as the base period, there
were 12% fewer Eichler sold in 2006, and about 8-9% fewer sold this year versus 2006. Fewer sales for sure, but as both
Eichler sellers and buyers know, higher prices for sure. Again, we’re fortunate in many ways to be living in silicon valley!
10-15-07. “Days on the Market” increase day-by-day, listings occur infrequently, and the fall real estate season
has not as yet measured up to the norm. Perhaps that will change before Thanksgiving. If not, the winter real estate season
portends to be a very slow one – but at least one good for home buyers.
10-8-07. We’re enjoying another beautiful Monday in Silicon Valley, and the rather slow real estate activity seems
to continue. The way it’s going, an inventory of Eichlers in the single digits isn’t too far away – a good many weeks before
we usually have that happen. As mentioned last week, 2007 will very likely be a bit less active than the prior 2 years.
10-1-07. We begin the month of October with another beautiful fall day, and a continuation of the fall real estate
season. As mentioned above, 2007 appears to be coming in with activity a bit less than 2006, or indeed, 2005, but all things
considered, an active year with at this point, a little less activity than 2006. With all the national press about the
housing industry it is no wonder. Our listings do appear to be taking more time to find a buyer, but in general, sellers
in our silicon valley marketplace don’t have as much to complain about as sellers elsewhere.
9-24-07. While the fall season officially started a few days ago, our real estate fall season that essentially
begins after Labor Day is approaching a month in duration. Usually quite active, it appears to be starting out a bit less
so this year. A few new listings have come on the market and then sold quickly, but more than a few have been on the
market for a number of weeks – even months. My guess is that the relative lack of activity is as much a function of
“sub-prime media attention/jumbo interest rate increase”, as the prices of the listings. Price decreases are not
occuring as one might expect.
9-17-07. Those of you that read the San Francisco Chronicle no doubt read the article in last Friday’s Business
Section entitled, “Home Sales in Bay Area plunge to 15-year low.” It prompts yet another comment about our
“micro, or 9 digit micro market association with the Eichler home. As the article went on to say, August sales – units of
course – were down 25% from last year in the 9 county area, but as you read further, the decrease in that time period for
Santa Clara and San Mateo counties was about 15%. “Eichler wise”, the numbers are even better. If you look at the 6 month
data on the Eichler Market Data page – a longer and more accurate gauge – you’ll see that at the moment, the number of Eichler
sold for the last 6 month period is about 9/10% less than last year. That number may become even less by the end of the
Sales prices this August versus last August? I don’t have the time at the moment to review those, but as
I think any frequent reader will agree, they’ve increased, not decreased.
9-10-07. The new listings are occuring pretty much on schedule, and it would appear that the peak number of
new listings that will occur this year, will be much the same as last year, i.e., around 130. Interesting isn’t it – at
least for me – given all the attention, usually negative, about real estate in general. Again, we live in a marvelously
blessed area of the planet – for many obvious reasons including the real estate market!
9-4-07. Labor Day has come and gone. “Let the games…” , and the fall real estate season begin!
8-27-07. We’re winding up the month of August – the summer real estate “season” – by perhaps getting a head-start
into a busier fall season. The listings scooted up last week to 18, by about twice the number of new listings to sales – the
standard way in which the number of listings increase. We’ll soon see if the fall season begins to chip away at the days
on the market average by having some of those older listings finally sell.
8-20-07. The “lazy days of summer” may be coming to an end. Significant sales activity last week accompanied all
the press about the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. We, the silicon valley Eichler markeplace that is, seem to be absorbing all
that news very nicely, with few if any problems in that specific – mortgage – area.
I had a delightful exchange of
emails last week with Kenneth Harney, the national real estate columnist. (See last weeks commentary.) Even though he is
rather familiar with our bay area real estate market, he still couldn’t get over the minimal “Days on the Market”, and the
persistence of multiple offers / “list plus” sales prices. As often mentioned, we are indeed very fortunate around here!
8-13-07. Those of you that read articles written by Kenneth
Harney, a nationally syndicated real estate columnist
in Washington, D.C., whose articles appear in the Mercury News and the
S F Chronicle, probably found his commentary this weekend about
“oasis micromarkets” a familiar observation – one I’ve been writing
about a long time. It was nice to see those sentiments discussed by
a nationally known chap, rather than from “yours truly” – a voice in
the Western wilderness. I’m going to email him to suggest that even a
better way to describe those “oasis micromarkets” is to use the 9 digit
zip codes, rather than the
common 5 digit codes. You heard it here first!
Little new to report this Monday – the lazy summer days continue.
8-6-07. Some warm weather brought some homebuyers out last
week, and the values were noted. Some of the more
recent listings came and went, and since we’re now in the last month of
summer, perhaps the beginning of the busier fall
season is really going to happen. A quick, brief look at the Eichler
Market Data page indicates just how our silicon valley
Eichler marketplace flys in the face of regional or national
statistics. For example, if you just look at some recent sales
activity in Sunnyvale and Palo Alto, the last 10 sales to close in
Sunnyvale, closed, on average, at a sales price 7.4% above the usually
healthy list price. And in Palo Alto, the last 10 sales to close there,
closed, again on average, at a sales price 8.3% above the list price.
Homebuyers for those areas visiting this website should at least keep
those numbers in mind.
7-30-07. The hazy, lazy days of summer continue in the
Eichler real estate market. And, it may lead into what
will hopefully become a more “normal” market come the Labor Day usual
upturn in activity. “Normal”, i.e., a market without frenetic
activity and jillions of multiple offers – we’ll see. The Days on the
Market of the current listings do reflect that direction. The average
“DOM” of the current listings is now 34 days. If you exclude the 4
listings that have been on 7
days or less, the DOM increases to 48 days. During “normal” times, the
average new listing is usually taken for 90 days, for it was not
unusual to take about that much time to find the willing buyer and
seller. Maybe, just maybe – – – -!
7-23-07. Taking a bit of time off during this slow time, but thanks to “the web”, I’m always able to
keep you up to date with listings and sales. See ‘ya.
7-16-07. Another rather lackluster week in the real estate business. When I visit for the first time with
prospective buyers I usually go over the seasonal aspects of our silicon valley market. And when I mention that the summer
is the second slowest time for new listings and sales, it is often a surprise. Well, I think the past few weeks again
substantiates what always happens around here.
7-9-07. Nothing of any significance to pass on this week, in particular after the July 4th slowdown. We did
reach the 100 transaction mark on the rolling 6 month list of the Eichler Market Data page, however ’tis a
warm, sleepy time at the moment around here.
7-2-07. We begin one of the normally slow months of the year with one of the slowest weeks – the July 4th
week / weekend. I don’t expect to see much happening this week. With only a couple of exceptions, the homes on the
market have been there for around a month or more, which could mean they’ll be around longer, given the time of year.
While I thought we may reach the 100 or more mark of the rolling 6 inventory, we didn’t – “close but no cigar!” Have a
pleasant July 4th holiday!
6-25-07. When updating the Eichler Market Data page this weekend it was interesting to see the number of active
listings for this 6 month period grow rather a bit more than usual. We’re inching towards 100 now, and if there is much
listing activity this week, it should surpass that. The inventory at the moment is quite illustrative of a good
cross-section of Eichler homes. Prices range from the $600K’s to almost $2.0 million – a commentary on location for sure –
and conditions ranging from an acknowledged “As-Is, needs help” to beautifully and tastefully updated homes. It will be
interesting to see if the inventory number begins to maintain this higher level.
6-18-07. A pretty good week for home sellers last week with 9 homes going under contract. Not so good for
home buyers for only 2 new listings appeared, both in Sunnyvale. As I was updating the Eichler Market Data page on the
weekend, it looks like 2007 will be a “slower” year for Eichler sales than either 2005 or 2006. If September still retains
the “peak month” for 2007 (look at the above “rolling 6 comment”, it would appear that the numbers will be less, once again.
And once again, Eichler sales activity will simply be following the broader market.
6-11-07. Well, we’re a couple of weeks into that “sensing” a little change in the market, and I’ll stay with
that feeling. I think it very likely the typical “summertime pause”, even though the print media is now beginning to
comment on the “slowdown.” Interesting article in the S F Chronicle today – “Buyer’s hesitate as sellers drop prices, wait”
as they comment on the bay area marketplace. As is often the case, the silicon valley Eichler home enthusiast may not
benefit as much as others, for as the article indicates, “It is a bifurcated market, with continued brisk sales of homes
in desirable neighborhoods, especially in the $750,000 and up range.” With rare exceptions, that describes our market.
6-4-07. Interesting. While one week does not provide enough data to base opinions, I can’t help but sense
a little change in the market. I just updated the Eichler Market Data page, and for the first time in many weeks – even
months – there was a notable jump in the number of listings on my rolling 6 month basis, all reflecting fewer sales and
more new listings during that period – all of a sudden. Well, summer is usually slower than the spring, so we’ll see if
this early feel of the market pans out to be real or not – in a few weeks. Home buyers would love to see that happen!
5-29-07. Memorial Day has come and gone, and we’ve now entered the un-offical beginning of summer, and the
unofficial beginning of a slower real estate season. It’s hard to believe that it will become much slower than the past
few weeks but time will tell. The problem remains the same – fewer folks that wish to sell their Eichler, and more
folks that are waiting for them to come on the market. It’s a difficult market to try to figure out.
5-14-07. I think this may be a record. Of the 8 current listings today, only 2 are in Santa Clara
County. Two! One in Sunnyvale and one in Palo Alto. The remainder are in San Mateo County – Foster City, San Mateo
and Burlingame. That pretty well explains the “whys & wherefores” of the current market. Any changes in sight? None are
visible to me.
5-7-07. The “quasi-active” note of activity of a week or so ago, certainly continued last week, with listings
coming, some going quickly, and yes, some listing activity in San Jose for a change. It’s about time!
Those of you
interested in “numbers” are hopefully visiting my Market Data page of this site periodically. I update it once a week,
on the weekend, and while doing so this past weekend, the picture or trend that these numbers paint tell an interesting
story, a story that – once again – the newspapers tend not to tell. For example, in the “universe” of Eichler home sales
activity that I cover, there have been 33 sales closed during these past 4 month of 2007. The bulk of them – 17 – occured
in Palo Alto (not surprising), and of the 17, 16 sold at prices above list price – as much as 44% above list price! The area
with the 2nd most active level of activity, Sunnyvale, (again, not surprising) had 6 sales, with 3 selling above list price,
not by 40+ percent, but as much as 10%. The numbers now get a bit too small to determine trends, however, of the 3 sales
occuring in the San Mateo Highlands, all three sold above list prices – around the 10% level.
The moral of the
story – again – is that real estate is local – very local – and while national news about the subject can be interesting,
don’t base purchase or sale decisions on that news.
4-30-07. We are finishing up April on a quasi-active note – less than normal Aprils, but certainly more active
than March – so perhaps that portends a more active May. Let’s hope so. It’s interestihg that the listing “wave” seems to
have hit Sunnyvale the last week or so. Maybe the same wave will be traveling a bit further south, so thatSan Jose will have
several come onto the market soon. Those of you that have targeted that area should visit here frequently!
4-23-07. Well the week was, as hoped, more active than prior weeks this spring. There were 5 new listings
making their debut last week, and 6 sales occured during that period of time. At least we are staying around that 10 to
a dozen number as the spring continues and hopefully, warm weather sets in. Those of you that may be more interested in
the the San Jose or Cupertino Eichler enclaves, have been experiencing a time of virtually no listing activity. There have
only been 2 listings/sales in each of those areas since the year began. I suppose statistics would say that we therefore
are due to see more activity in those areas. Let’s hope so!
4-16-07. It appeared that spring had really begin to “sprung” last week with several new listings, principally
in Palo Alto. We’ll hope that continues this week so that home buyers will have a bit more from which to choose.
4-9-07. Yesterday’s S. F. Chronicle’s Real Estate Section carried an article entitled “Bloom & Gloom”, with the
sub-head, “Spring has sprung, but home prices are expected to blossom in only a few parts of the region – generally west of
the bay – as inventory remains low and sales number stay slack.” Indeed so! As the article further goes on to say, sales
are brisk in places like Palo Alto and Saratoga – silicon valley – in part because there are so few listings, compared to last
year, and frankly, about any year that I can recall. Our Eichler home sellers are truly benefiting from the basic supply /
demand law of economics. What’s puzzleing is that relatively few sellers are taking advantage of that!
4-2-07. A very interesting time in our marketplace. Those of
you that visit this site daily saw the inventory
fall to a record low of 3 Eichlers last Friday. Some activity over the
weekend made that increase to 4 today, but still, those numbers are
record setting. It once again prompts me to comment on the local, very
local nature of our silicon valley
Eichler marketplace. I receive real estate statistics from various
local sources, and last Friday received the “Housing
Inventory Snapshot” of Northern California counties. Average Days on
the Market in March for Single Family Homes in Santa Clara
County priced under $1.0 million were 52, and for those over $1.0
million, 69. San Mateo County numbers were slightly less
for March – 49 and 56. I ran the Eichler home sales “Days on the
Market” numbers for March – last month – and that number for the 15
homes that sold in March was 9, yes, 9. What more can I say!
3-26-07. A couple of home sellers tried to help our inventory situation last week, so we at least begin the week
with 9 homes on the market, versus the 4 or 5 that I’ve been accustomed to reporting. At least a step forward. If these
new listings stay around a bit longer than “spring usual” – around a week – and we see a few more new ones posted, that will
be a positive sign for folks looking for their Eichler home.
3-19-07. Much hoopla about about “sub prime” mortages in the national media and columns, but it seems another
example of “like politics, real estate is very local”, for silicon valley appears less troubled by that phenomenon. The
profile and demographics of a typical Eichler home buyer in their part of the market may have something to do with that
as well. I’ve been asked at times what I mean, in the above context for example, when I say “local.” I think the best way
to describe or define that is to say “a 9 digit zip code.” It could even be more refined in certain areas, but for the
most part 9 digits, i.e., 94306-xxxx, or 94087-xxxx – a 9 digit zip code is as close as it gets to “real estate local.”
3-12-07. Perhaps the beginning of some warmer weather will persuade upcoming home sellers to get going, for the
time seems all but perfect to place properties on the market. As you can see, we are having a dificult time increasing
the inventory beyond 5 to 10 homes, for as soon as they come one, they go within a week or so. Of course there are always
the few that stay around much longer, usually because of price/value, but that seems always to be the case in this business.
3-5-07.Whada’ya know – we gained a couple of new listings from a week ago, and we’re now up to 8, at least for
a couple of days. It’s been an interesting year thus far in Eichlerdom, with the majority of Eichler sales
occuring in the more expensive areas, essentially Palo Alto and north of there. Palo Alto contains about 40% of the homes
in my area of silicon valley, and since January 1, about 70% of the Eichlers sold have been in Palo Alto or north of there.
We’ll see what happens during the next couple of months, but my guess is that we’ll see more “southern” Eichlers come onto
2-26-07. Folks this is getting to be a bit ridiculous. A single digit number of listings early in the
year is not unexpected or unusual, but it is unusual to get down to the current level – 4 – and remain at this level
for as long as it has. Some of my comments or observations in my recent weekly “Summararies” about a “thin” inventory
are indeed proving to be pretty accurate. For the sake of a lot of home buyers out there, I wish they weren’t!
2-19-07. On January 2 of this year I thought this spring might be a “barn-burner.” Well – no “barn-burner
as yet, but a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl does not a market make! The market remains quite balanced, as we
have about the same number of listings occuring as sales – last week 3 new listings, and 3 new sales.
Yesterday’s Real Estate Section of the San Francisco Chronicle carried a “cover page” article – “Keeping up with the Benjamins”
by a Craig Venezia, that is worth your time, in particular if you are considering the purchase of a home in silicon
valley. Among other cogent observations, he offers a commentary on a subject that I have discussed with my home
buying clients for many years – “Appreciation far outpaces income. That’s why only 12% of the Bay area can afford
to buy a home.” So true! Usually the secret for a first time silicon valley home buyer is simply to enter the market
and buy a home. It very likely will not be the home you’ve been thinking about. It very likely will cost several
times more than a similar or larger home you have seen elsewhere – outside silicon valley. But – it will enable you
to enter a real estate market that appreciates more than incomes normally do, and help you get started to ultimately
acquire the home that you indeed have been waiting for. It’s not easy to do the first time, but believe me, it has
always paid off in our valley.
2-12-07. Well – – the Super Bowl is indeed over, and the games are getting off to a slow start! While you
don’t exactly expect the flood gates to open with new listings, you do expect more than 1 or 2 new ones to begin the
spring season. Home buyers are certainly out there hoping for an inventory from which to choose, and interest
rates are still at an attractive level. We just need some folks to bite the bullet, and do it!
2-5-07. The Super Bowl is over – let the real estate games begin. Wow! The number of active listings
have hit a very low number – 4. When the listings begin to appear- as they will -it will be very interesting to see just
how large the inventory will become. Got a feeling that the inventory number will take some time to increase
because if priced reasonably at the market, they will not last very long, keeping the inventory quite “thin.” We’ll
1-29-07. One more week to the Super Bowl, and one more week to the beginning of our spring
real estate seaon. (Where have you heard that before?) And it should be an interesting spring
season as well, and one that the waiting homebuyer may not particularly like. As I was updating the Eichler
Market Data page this weekend, it becomes rather clear and perhaps ominous what the homebuyer faces this
year. 8 new Eichler listings have come on to our marketplace since January 1. Those 8 are located in 5
different cities. Of the 8, 7 are listed at prices above $1,000,000. Of those 8, 4 have already sold with
their “Sales Pending.” It appears that the late 2005 “pause” in real estate action is about over. We’ll see –
1-22-07. Well the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts will meet in a couple of weeks at
the Super Bowl, and when that happens the spring real estate market usually wakes up. We’ll see if
that holds true again this year. Lets hope that warmer weather also arrives at about the same time.
Prediction, not for the Super Bowl, but for new listings. By this
time next month the number of listings will have doubled – or more.
1-15-07. Around here, the focus of activity and attention is not real estate, but keeping
warm! I don’t recall a time when the temperatures have gotten as low as they are now – for this
length of time. And it unfortunately is to continue for several more days. And, so is the real
estate doldrum. So much for global warming – at least for awhile.
1-8-07. The real estate doldrums continue. At least the number of listings remained at 5,
with the sale of one in Palo Alto, and the new listing in Burlingame. All else remains calm. Once
again, the doldrums can be a propicious time for the buyer if the right home is still on the market.
1-2-07. Happy New Year! It appears that we are beginning the year with the fewest number
of listings – 5 – that I can ever recall. Not unusual for the first week of the
year, but still about as low as it ever gets. I have a feeling this spring will be
12-18-06. This will be my last Monday morning update of the year, so I think a couple of comments
would be appropriate. 2006 has
indeed been an interesting one in the real estate business – a year of two halves. The
first six months were essentially a continuation of 2005, with active sellers, and as
in 2005, even more active home buyers with a purpose to buy durng that time. The last
six month’s activity changed, with home buyers becoming spooked, in particular by the
national media’s attention to the slowing real estate market. Even with interest rates
leveling – and even going lower – home buyers still seem to searching for the bottom of
the market. While understandable, that approach, and this current window of opportunity
may disappear by next February or March in silicon valley, the beginning of our spring.
2007 should be another interesting year in Eichlerdom, and in our silicon valley real
estate market. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! See you next year!
12-11-06. Another quiet week in Eichlerdom. If you visit the Eichler Market
Market Data page of this site you’ll see that the total number of listings during the
past 6 months has gone down to 92, reflecting the relative slowing activity compared to
last year, and that number is likely going down further during the next couple of months.
Real estate activity certainly is cyclical, and this cycle is quite normal as well.
12-4-06. We just went through a very quiet – boring – week as we entered the
last month of the year. Don’t expect to see it become much different in the weeks ahead,
or in the first few weeks of January. Probably a smart time to be a home buyer, and if you
think a minimal inventory helps you as a home seller, not a bad time either! Just look at
the list above.
11-27-06. It’s apparent that a “Mexican stand-off” of sorts, i.e. home
buyers not buying and home sellers not budging on price, is occuring here in silicon
valley. If that continues, we will probably have to wait until next February or so to see
if those decisions were correct or not. Given past history, and the likelihood that spring
activity is normally bullish, I’ll simply defer to my comments of last week. Your
thoughts? Let me know at email@example.com.
11-18-06. More of the same as we enter the Thanksgiving week and weekend – the
normal beginning of the real estate doldrums for the year. Home buyers are still around,
but many are continuing to wait for what they hope will be lower prices. As mentioned
before, a questionable strategy akin to trying to buy stocks when prices are falling, and
sell when prices are higher. Unlike stock speculation, home purchases are usually made for
the long term – at least 5 years or so. And when employing that strategy, once finding the
home that really appeals and fits the buyers requirements, it usually makes a lot of sense
to buy it – in particular in silicon valley markets, and in particular when interest rates
are at or bouncing around historic lows as they are now. Just ask anyone who has purchased
a home in 2001 – at the “height” of the real estate bubble around here!
11-13-06 Even though we got down to single digit Eichler inventory numbers last
week, a couple of new listings over the weekend brings it back up to 13. That will
obviously help the average “Days on the Market” lookers feel better, the folks
that have been there for awhile don’t particularly care about that. A chilly Monday makes
it feel more and more like fall.
11-6-06.Yes indeed, as mentioned last week, the “doldrums” seem to
have begun earlier this year. My open house at Pear Avenue in Sunnyvale was relatively
active, but we certainly had room for more. It seems that real home buyers, those that are
not “just looking”, are still waiting, presumably for lower prices. That may or
may not be a good strategy. When we are in this type of market, with increasing “Days
on the Market” -(it’s now 65 in Eichlerdom)- and a small inventory reflecting reduced
prices, home sellers are usually in more of a “negotiable mode.” After the
seasonal doldrums end early next year, the spring real estate season is usually
characterized by new and higher prices, as well as a “multiple offer”
expectation mode. In my experience, it’s always best to be proactive in a more
10-30-06. We’re finishing October on a very calm note, with little happening in
the way of new listings or new sales. The “doldrums” of the real estate season
may be beginning a bit earlier this year – about a month earlier in fact. You would think
that the glorious weather we’ve having in silicon valley would keep the activity humming,
but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
10-23-06. Today’s inventory of Eichler listings is edging lower, a bit sooner
than one would usually expect. You usually see that happening during the holiday seasons,
late November, December and early January. If home sellers are realistic with their 2006
pricing, a smaller inventory should help them find a buyer more quickly. It simply appears
that the real estate market has become more balanced, where home buyers have more of an
opportunity to negotiate their purchase, and informed home sellers have realized that the
market has changed from the sellers favor of the last few years.
10-16-06. My goodness, a lot of activity over the weekend. Perhaps home buyers
are beginning to realize that the softening home prices are soft enough, in particular
given the lower interest rates, and are deciding not to “bottom fish” any
further. Probably a good idea, for there are some areas where prices are now beginning to
10-9-06. For those of you that archive or otherwise save my weekly summary
commentaries, I’ll be removing those weekly comments that are over 2 years old shortly.
Interesting, for me at least, to go back – scroll down – and read those of similar periods
a year or two ago. If you do so now for this period of time last year, and in 2004 as
well, you’ll see the differences in our marketplace between 2004 and now, and I think
you’ll also see that our “return to normalcy” began about a year ago, not
recently, as some in the media would have you to believe.
Our “Mexican Standoff” between buyers and sellers still continues, with only
a few signs that home sellers are beginning to understand the current market.
10-2-06. Our fall real estate market – Labor Day to Thanksgiving – is less
active than past fall seasons. We definitely are in a market in transition. My Eichler
Market Data page of this website has now been active for a year, and as you have probably
read above – at one time or another – this past 6 months of activity, compared to the
activity of those same months in 2005 show a fairly significant decrease in activity. As
is mentioned, we saw 148 transactions occuring during this time period last year. This
year, that number is 126, or a 15% decrease in transactions. Given the current activity
and trend that decrease in activity will in all likelihood continue for a few months. Good
for home buyers, not so good for home sellers.
9-25-06. Another open house with many visitors to Pear Ave. in Sunnyvale, and
virtually as many compliments about this unusual open but private floor plan. For those of
you that couldn’t make it, go back to the Featured Listing link on the Current Listings
page, and you can “take a tour” of the home.
The media certainly loves to follow real estate. Newspaper columnists are offering all
kinds of commentary about the “sellers market” disappearing, the “buyer’s
market” in full stride, and all kinds of variations in between. If you are a regular
reader of my commentary – look at some past offerings – you’ll see that I think we are
simply in a normal pausing or transitional time, a time when home buyers usually don’t
have to compete with many multiple offers on a home, and home sellers expect to have their
homes on the market for more than a couple of days. Healthier times for all in my view.
9-18-06. It’s always great to see old clients, and make some new friends at Open
Houses, and such was the case at our Open House at Raleigh Avenue in San Jose yesterday.
It seems all were quite impressed with the home and the lovely staging. Someone is going
to wind up with quite an outstanding example of an Eichler, tasefully upgraded, and
modified with a very functional garage conversion. The fall season is enjoying some very
nice weather, and a relatively good number of homes from which to choose. That may not
9-11-06. Little to report on the 5th aniversary of that horrific day in our
lives. Onward and upward!
9-5-06. Labor Day has come and gone, so let the real estate buying season begin
– hopefully! All the dour commentary you here in the media about the declining real estate
market never helps – sometimes a self-fulfilling prophecy – but we’ll see. There is no
question that “days on the market” have been increasing as of late, in
particular in certain zip codes. “Bottom fishers” in the real estate market best
take notice, for sometimes that bottom reverses rather quickly.
8-28-06. It’s always nice to see newspaper articles written about Eichler homes.
A couple of articles, one devoted to “Eichler Update – Helping a midcentury classic
fit a 21st century style of living”, and another “Preservation – Saving the
Eichler aesthetic”, appeared in last Saturday’s Home & Garden section of the San
Francisco Chronicle. I must say that both articles were in marked contrast to the one the
Chronicle carried a few weeks ago, (see my 7-31 comments below), and both will I know be
of interest to Eichler homeowners and enthusiasts. How many other homes are featured, and
written about in various magazines and forms of media? I think you know the answer!
8-21-06. Another very busy Open House on Murray Way in Palo Alto, but as
mentioned last week, one Open House does not a market make. With the possible exception of
Palo Alto, the market place is still in the throes of a summertime pause. However, it
wouldn’t surprise me to say in the months ahead that that silicon valley home buyer’s
market began in the summer of 2006. If that’s the case, we’ll see a period of time when
home sellers will see their days on the market increasing – as it is now, homes being
pulled off the market – as is happening now, and home sellers reluctantly or slowly
reducing prices – which, in general, really hasn’t happened as yet. And – home buyers that
are really ready to buy will see this happening, and decide to wait to see just how far
prices will go down! Sharp home sellers will react accordingly, and the sharpest of home
buyers will do so as well – and the real estate market in silicon valley will continue
it’s upward climb, with occasional blips – as always.
8-14-06. One Open House does not a market make. While the activity at Sunday’s
open house on Ferne Ave. was rather active, the overall Eichler marketplace – and the
market in general – is still moving slowly. Guess everything moves a bit slower during hot
weather. Interesting to me that there have been more canceled or withdrawn listings this
year, than at any other time I can recall. That probably is symptomatic of home sellers
wishing for the prices they saw occuring earlier in the spring, and finding that those
prices just aren’t occuring at the moment. Even though a small universe, the average
number of “Days on the Market” of 17 of the current Eichler listings is 44 days.
The 18th has been on well over 6 months (hard to understand why!), and would skew the
numbers if included in the total. Anyway – I think it’s a interestsing commentary on the
8-7-06. The rather slow summertime activity continues, with 2 new listings
posted last week, and 2 sales recorded – and the days on the market continue to grow. And,
my goodness, the article in last weeks San Francisco Chronicle that I referred to in last
week’s summary comments, did indeed attract a huge response from its readers – far and
wide. The editor of the Home & Garden section mentioned that it generated “more
than 140 letters, and 23,000 hits” on the SF Gate.com website. I’m sure the majority,
including mine and the others that didn’t make the Letters to the Editor section, were
critical of the article’s bias toward the features of the Eichler mentioned. I’m still not
sure that the editor “gets it”, because of the comments in her responding
article, “It’s only a house” which headlined her response last Saturday. I
wonder if she describes other notable and widely recognized achievements the same way,
i.e., “…it’s only a bridge” – for the Golden Gate, or “…it’s only an
office building”, for the Transamerica Pyramid, or “… it’s only a —(fill in
the blanks)”. OK – perhaps not perfect analogies, but you get the idea!
7-31-06. The national media is convinced that the real estate market has turned
into a buyer’s market. It appears that that certainly is the case in those markets where
“flipping” was the rule of the day, but from my perspective, that is not yet the
case around the silicon valley marketplace. There is no question that homes, including
Eichlers, are remaining on the market for a longer period of time before a sales contract
occurs. I’m not quite sure that is simply the summer market with fewer home buyers around,
or the transition that occurs before a change in the market occurs. We’ll know in sometime
Those of you that take the San Francisco Chronicle may have seen the article in the
Home Section last Sunday that was not very complimentary to the Eichler. The author, a
younger person whose grandmother owned the home prior to her death, seemed to delight in
writing about a leaking roof, lack of insulation, and a less than desirable heating
system. She rather quickly passed by the observation that “… household upkeep was
not a priority” of her grandmother. I think it rather disengenuous to dwell on those
deficiencies, given the lack of upkeep. I suppose that’s one way to get published if
you’re a free-lance writer. We’ll see if my letter to the editor in respose to the article
gets published as well!
7-24-06. Whew! I cannot remember when it has been so hot around here, for so
many days in a row. Very, very unusual weather. Global warming will have a new meaning for
lots of folks now! Little to comment on. Our summer doldrums continue.
7-17-06. I just read my commentary for last week, and I can in essence repeat
the same views for this commentary. I’ll do so – “Ditto”, and just add that we
are now probably entering the period when home buyers, seeing the “pause”, think
it’s best to wait further “to see just how far the prices will go down.” We’ll
re-visit this thought, after Labor Day, to see if this timing strategy makes sense or not.
I think you can probably imagine what the history of this approach offers.
7-10-06. The last couple of weeks activity has been in keeping with our summer
market. No new listings occured last week, and only a couple of sales occured during that
holiday week. Some have been saying that the sellers market is now over, and it’s finally
now a buyer’s market. That’s not true, at least from my perspective, for markets simply do
not go from “black to white”, or “positive to negative” overnight. I
do think that our market is either pausing – taking a breath – or transitioning from one
to another. Only a handful of listings have recently sold in a matter of a few days –
typical in our seller market areas – and the remainder have been around for a month or
more. That is indeed a sign of a transitioning market, and summertime is often a time for
6-26-06. Got this quick update in while spending some time with the grandkids.
Between the heat, the “going”, and trying to keep up the pace, keeping up is
taking its toll. I’m going to have to take more time off to recover!!! Much fun though!
6-19-06. The San Jose Mercury News carrys a little graph in the weekend
“Real Estate” section of that paper that tracks the number of home sales on a
seasonal basis, as well as the number of homes that have sold over the listed price. The
area covered is essentially Santa Clara valley, and for the past many months, the number
of homes that have sold over list price hovers around 50%. If you look at the data on my
Eichler Homes Marketplace page of this site, you will see that the number of Eichlers that
have sold during the past 6 months over the listed price amount to some 60%. I think it’s
obvious that “Eichler market” certainly follows the total market, and in this
measurement, slightly exceeds it. It is likely that that excess is caused by the number of
Eichler sales in areas such as Palo Alto, or other “hot markets” in Santa Clara
6-12-06. Another fun weekend, spending a bit of time with Ned Eichler, and his
lovely wife, during his presentation at the Fairbrae Center in Sunnyvale. It was nice to
see some past clients, and Eichler owners and enthusiasts, young and old. There are some
interesting parallels between the Eichler buyer of the 50’s and 60’s, and those of today
and recent past. And there are some interesting differences as well. Perhaps some fodder
for further commentary?! Please let me know.
6-5-06. Last week was a busy one as far as new listings go. The wet spring seems
to have pushed listings that normally would have occured a month or so ago into this time
frame, with 13 new listing occuring last week. 12 of the 28 current listings are less than
1 week old. We’ll see how long these numbers stay in the high 20’s, and if the DOM goes up
5-30-06. Well, in real estate lingo, we’ve finished our active spring season,
and now entering the summer season. Long time readers of this site know that,in my
estimation at least, the summer is never quite as busy as spring. We’ll see if that is the
case again this year. While spring 2006 has been an active one, it has not been as busy as
last year. The “pause” that is occuring in the national market place, is
occuring here as well, and from my point of view, that’s healthy.
5-22-06. A fun weekend, with a couple of hours spent up in the Highlands
listening to Ned Eichler, and his talk at the rec center – “I Now Sing for my
Father.” Evidently Joe Eichler was quite a story-teller. I must say that he passed
that skill on to his son Ned. A very enjoyable talk, and and a very enjoyable time was had
by all. Eichler owners, young and old, heard vignettes about his father and those busy
years of the 50’s and 60’s. As you may know, other talks and book-signings such as this,
are to be given by Ned down the peninsula, next month, and later on. One of those talks
that was previously scheduled for June 3rd in Palo Alto has been postponed until
the fall. The others, one in San Jose on June 4th, and the other in Sunnyvale on June
10th will be held as scheduled. Let me know if you have any questions about times and
5-15-06. “Days on the Market” – – – “DOM” in realtor
parlance, and a phrase used to evaluate or comment on a given real estate market. The
longer the DOM, the “slower” the market, and the more it usually favors the home
buyer. And of course the shorter it is, the more it favors the home seller. The DOM in my
Eichler market place is inching up little by little. Today, not counting one listing that
has been there for almost 6 months – it would distort the average – the average DOM is 25
days. In most areas of the country, and during more “normal” markets, that would
be a very healthy number – good for both buyer and seller. Around here, as you all likely
know, 25 is about double the number that we have been experiencing for well over a year.
So – a move in the direction of “normalcy?” I think so – we’ll see.
5-8-06. No question about it this year. The early spring rains – downpours! –
really did delay the spring real estate activity. New listings are occuring with the
frequency that we always expect – witness the new level of inventory at 25. Sunshine does
indeed affect the psyche of most of us.
It’s interesting to me how much attention the newer internet sites – those that attempt
to value homes – are attracting in national publications. California again seems to be the
first area where new approaches and sites begin. I see I made mention of those sites a
couple of months ago. Anyway, as mentioned, the more information the better. Just
recognize the pluses and minuses of all of it!
5-1-06. Sign of the times – as I updated the Eichler Market Data page last
weekend, I had to smile, then empathize with home buyers in this silicon valley
marketplace. Even though there were only 6 new listings posted last week, 5 in Palo Alto,
5 of the 6 were priced more than $1,000,000. And in many ways, the spring real estate
market is just now beginning to get heated. I think the wet weather has delayed the normal
February through April buzz-saw until about now. We’ll see if that continues.
4-24-06. Our Eichlers are once again the subject of newspaper or magazine
articles – it seems to happen at least two or three times a year. This time, a brief one
page article (the last page of the magazine) by Peter Fish, in the Western Wanderings
series of Sunset Magazine, May issue, entitled Tomorrow’s House Today
provides a short but sweet summary of the history of the Eichler, and how the design of
these “anti-monster” houses still attract so many folks in our
“monster-home” market, so prevalent in many areas of silicon valley today. Yours
truly, who was interviewed for the article months ago, was quoted in saying, among other
things, how most folks including realtors, didn’t particularly like the Eichler home 15
years ago. That was the case, and I suppose that is still true today – but – a sizeable
chunk of todays younger home buyers do indeed understand and appreciate the design
features of classic Eichlers. I obviously still do!
4-17-06. New listings posted last week – new sales throughout the week and
weekend! I thought we were going to build a healthier inventory, but it seems that’s not
going to be the case. If it ever stops raining we’ll probably get down to single digits
and stay there!
4-10-06. Well the number of listings has finally begun to grow a bit. While it
has seemed rather slow this year, a peek back at my commentary a year ago reveals that the
number of active listings are about the same. It just seems slower! ‘Twas good to see some
old friends and acquaintenaces at our Open House on Dehavilland last week. While the
county records indicate the spelling of the street to be as I list, evidently search
engines spell it like “Olivia” – DeHavilland, i.e. For those that don’t know
Saratoga history, yes indeed, both Olivia DeHavilland and her sister, Joanne Fontaine –
both Hollwood stars and Oscar winners of the 40’s and 50’s lived in Saratoga years ago. I
happend to meet Olivia while walking across Big Basin Way in downtown Saratoga 15 or 20
years ago. But – that’s another story!
4-3-06. The wettest March in our history has, I think, contributed to a very
slow spring real estate season. I also think that this pause in activity is the
marketplace returning to some form of “normalcy” in Silicon Valley, after years
of exuberance. No, not “irrational”, but exuberance to be sure. With the
possible exception of Palo Alto, the number of “days on the market” continues to
grow, and again, with a few exceptions, the number of multiple offers have markedly
decreased. If this weather and that market characterization continues, I would think that
we will see it have an effect on prices. Stand by.
3-27-06. We had a marvelous sunny Sunday for a delightful Open House on
Dehavilland Dr. in Saratoga. It was nice to see all the neighbors that could visit, and
meet some new folks as well. As expected, everyone has been amazed to see the
transformation of what was a lovely home, into something rather incredible. Good to see
you all! Glad you could come by!
3-20-06. Please visit the Featured Listing link on the Current
Listings page, and you’ll see the early listing information on our new Saratoga
listing. Additional pictures and the “virtual tour” will also be appearing later
this week as the photography is done and downloaded. It is truly an outstanding home! As
mentioned on that page, the home will be open this Sunday, March 26th from 1:30 to 4:30PM.
Please drop by – I’d love to show it to you!
On another note, for those of you that take the San Francisco Chronicle, todays Letters
to the Editor section contains a letter concerning “Housing Trends”, from Avram
Goldman, President and COO of Coldwell Banker in San Ramon. You will I think find it quite
appropriate, and “right on” in terms of explaining what is happening around here
in the real estate market. All of us who are “in the business” find it
interesting how the media characterizes the real estate market as a”bursting
bubble”, when prices increase only 4 or 5%, instead of 12 to 15%, or more. Anyway,
perhaps you will find it illuminating. If there is any change going on around here
“as we speak”, it is only – hopefully – that we are seeing a return to a more
“normal”, buyer / seller market.
3-13-06. I have just listed the most striking remodeled Eichler that I have ever
seen. As you might imagine, I have seen hundreds if not thousands over the past 15 years
or so, and while that is a strong statement, it is indeed true. More information will
appear here during the weekend, and pictures, video tour, et al next week. I’m anxious for
all of you see it, both here and hopefully in person.
3-6-06. The headline in last Saturday’s San Jose Mercury News was
“Web transforming real estate sales”, with a sub-headline of “Sites offer
more data that agents do.” There is no question that the internet has transformed
many businesses, but not many more than residential real estate sales. And for the most
part, “that’s a good thing!” Several of the sites mentioned in the article
certainly do offer the public and web surfers lots of information that once was the
purview only of real estate professiionals. While the old saw, “A little bit of
knowledge is a dangerous thing” probably applies here as well, I think having folks
know more, not less, always works to the advantage of all.
A couple of thoughts regarding a few of those sites – in particular those that value
properties. Some are obviously set up to have you connect with an agent that will help you
do so, and others attempt to do it “online”, with accuracy within 10% or so.
That’s obviously a function of “comparable” sales, and information pulled from
county records. Often that information needs refinement or updating – sometimes a lot –
and among other things, that’s what good brokers/agents do. In fact, most folks that have
been looking for properties for any length of time can often guess the list price/value of
the home within 10%, without the help of any of these sites.
I hope visitors to my website, and certainly my clients think that my site does indeed
offer information that you will find no where else, given the focus only on Eichler homes.
While my site does not offer the “4-color bells and whistles”, links to weather,
etc., I am proud of its accuracy, timeliness and ease of navigation. Even though it may
show its age via the graphics – it has been up and running since 1995 – it has received a
lot of compliments, for which I thank you! I’d love to hear your comments. Please take a
moment to let me know your views! – Jerry
2-27-06. Who knows whether or not it’s the climate – weather, economic, or
emotional – or an idiosyncrasy of 2006, the normaly busy, post Super Bowl market that I
often refer to as a hectic time in this business- just isn’t! At least at the moment. With
a couple of exceptions, listings that have been on the market as long as 2 to 3 months are
still there, and new listings are not appearing with the frequency expected. A week or a
month “does not a market make”, but it may be we that are beginning to see a
change from what we’ve seen in the marketplace for a couple of years. Stand by!
2-20-06. Happy President’s Day! I hope you all were able to read Dan Perrigan’s
article in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle’s Real Estate section – “The Eichler
& the Ecstasy.” While it mentioned several aspects of “the Eichler” and
Joe Eichler that usually find their way into stories about our classic homes, the
commentary about Mr. Eichler’s progressive civil rights stance in home building and
marketing was especially well done. And Ned Eichler’s recollections of those early days of
their homebuilding attest, as always, to his story telling prowness. Great stuff! Ned, Joe
Eichler’s son, was President of Eichler Homes during the 1950’s.
It was also nice to see the comments of two of my past homebuyer clients, the
Cornillons and the Gallis, as well as to see a picture of the Cornillon home. And of
course I’m always pleased and proud to see the name Eichler Homes Realty mentioned
in these articles!
The article made mention of Ned Eichler’s new book, “Fame or Fortune”, which
has just been published. I have recently been able to give Ned a hand in scheduling talks
about the book in a presentation he calls “I Now Sing for my Father”. Those
talks will be occuring this May and June, and I’ll be writing about the time and places
later. Ned is as mentioned quite a “story teller”, and I know lots of folks,
Eichler owners and others, will look forward to listening to more of them.
2-12-06. As mentioned during the week last week, the editors of the San
Francisco Chronicle decided to run an article about Online Lending last Sunday, as opposed
to the story about Eichler homes and homeowners – for whatever reason. An interesting
article, although speaking from experience, it’s always been very helpful and usually
comfortable for my home buyer clients to put a face with a name with their lender or their
represenative. The same I might add goes for real estate brokers! Anyway, I presume the
article will appear next Sunday.
Spring has not yet sprung in our marketplace. A couple of new listings, nicely
prepared, have come and gone quickly, but several others are still there. It will be an
2-6-06. The Super Bowl is over – let the real estate games begin! If you have
been checking the Eichler Market Data page of this site, you’ll note that the number of
Active, Pending and Sold listings have reached the 80’s level, down from approximately 150
several months ago. You will likely see that number beginning to increase as we go through
this month and into the warmer spring.
The San Francisco Chronicle will be carrying an article about Eichler homes and
homeowners next Sunday, the 12th. I’m not sure what the thrust will be at the moment, but
as always, the attention given to the “Eichler” is always of interest.
I’m advised now that the article will be the “cover article”, on the
Chronicle’s Real Estate section – this Sunday the 12th, or the following Sunday, the 19th.
1-30-06. While the magic moment of the Super Bowl is a week away, it would
appear that the market is beginning to set its tone a bit earlier than usual. The number
of new listings, 13 at the moment is about twice as high as has been the case in prior
years. Home sellers are evidently eager to get the ball rolling. However, the listings are
beginning to age a bit – with more than half of the listings being there for over 3 weeks,
or being re-listed from prior months. It should be an interesting spring.
1-23-06. The NFL playoffs are over and the Super Bowl is but 2 weeks away. And
the real estate market is beginning to make rumblings that its spring season will begin
shortly. New listings appear to be coming on a bit earlier and the inventory is beginning
to build, since home buyers seem not ready to get their feet wet yet. Prices of new
listings are reflecting a continuation of where we left off last year. At least that is an
early read in the Eichler marketplace – really too early to have much predictive value.
1-16-06.A chilly holiday in a chilly real estate market. 5 of the 7 current
active listings – the oldest – have been on the market from 35 to 115 days – an average of
65 days. I would say that is a commentary on the current value / price relationship that
is turning favorable to home buyers. We’ll see if that continues after the market really
begins its active spring market – in about a month.
1-9-06. We’re a few weeks away from Super Bowl Sunday, and if seasonality in
this business still prevails – I believe that it does – a few weeks away from the
beginning of the active Spring real estate season. Keep tuned in!
1-3-06. Holidays are great, but it’s always nice to get back business isn’t it?
It least it is for me. The newspapers are full of commentary about the real estate market
for last year and 2006. The prevailing prediction among many industry economists, mortgage
bankers, and the realtor community, is that the strong market of 2005 will be a gradually
slowing market for 2006, albeit still strong by historical standards. While those
sentiments are offered on a national view, I think we will experience much the same here
in Silicon Valley. Home seller expectations of “umpteen” percentage point
increases over 2005, may have to expect those in the 5 to 10% variety in 2006.
Categories: Eichler Insights